Education

Rutgers, NJIT, Essex County College students join together to protest Trump immigration policy

Students from Rutgers University-Newark, New Jersey Institute of Technology and Essex County College protest President Trump's immigration policies during a demonstration on the campus of Rutgers Newark on Feb. 1, 2017 Credits: Frank Barcelos
College students from Rutgers University-Newark, New Jersey Institute of Technology and Essex County College protest President Trump's immigration policies during a campus rally Wednesday. Credits: Frank Barcelos
College students from Rutgers University-Newark, New Jersey Institute of Technology and Essex County College protest President Trump's immigration policies during a campus rally Wednesday. Credits: Frank Barcelos
College students from Rutgers University-Newark, New Jersey Institute of Technology and Essex County College protest President Trump's immigration policies during a campus rally Wednesday. Credits: Frank Barcelos
College students from Rutgers University-Newark, New Jersey Institute of Technology and Essex County College protest President Trump's immigration policies during a campus rally Wednesday. Credits: Frank Barcelos

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the Norman Samuels Plaza at Rutgers University in Newark today to protest the treatment of immigrants under the Trump administration.

The protesters, most of them students from Rutgers and neighboring New Jersey Institute of Technology and Essex County Community College, chanted and carried signs opposing Trump’s executive order to ban travel from seven majority-Muslim countries and build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

“We are not going to go from a nation of immigrants to a nation of arrogance,” said Zakaria Fouad, President of NJIT’s Muslim Student Association, one of the featured speakers.

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Wednesday's demonstration was part of a growing protest movement across college campuses throughout the United States. On Tuesday, an estimated 2,000 students and faculty at Rutgers University in New Brunswick also marched to protest Trump's immigration policies.

Speakers at the Newark protest included Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of Rutgers-Newark, Nadia Kahf, Chairwoman of the New Jersey Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and Phil Murphy, a Democratic candidate for governor. 

“It’s easy to be with communities when times are easy,” Murphy said. “It’s during times of courage that brings people like you together.”

Students at the rally chanted, “No Trump. No KKK. No fascist USA,” “From Palestine to Mexico, all the wall’s got to go” and “Hands too small, can’t build the wall.”

Some carried signs.

“It’s not about Left vs. Right. It’s about Right vs. Wrong,” said one.

“No hate. No fear. Refugees are welcome here,” said another.

A third quoted the late Martin Luther King Jr.: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Noor Kazan is a pre-med student and Syrian American.

“We are here to stand up for America because it is the country of the free and the land where the oppressed find refuge and a home,” she said.

Kimberly Gonzalez, a 20-year-old nursing student said she is a first generation American.

“It is important for us to unite in what we believe in,” she said. “I want to educate. Education is the tool to eradicate hate."

Cathleen Mitchell, 39, of Maplewood, said she felt compelled to participate.

"As a privileged white woman, I feel like it is my duty to put my body where people feel unsafe to out theirs,” she said. “There a lot of people who can't speak out safely."

Organizers of the protest were the Rutgers-Newark and NJIT Muslim Student Associations, Rutgers-Newark Student Governing Association and Amnesty International, a student organization at NJIT. 

Chancellor Cantor thanked the student organizers for “standing forth” and “standing in solidarity and pushing back with all our hearts and minds against an effort to splinter us.”

Emina Lukarcanin and David Clermont contributed to this report.
 

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